ASU basketball dropped their first game of the 2012 season Saturday, falling to No. 14 Creighton, 87-73, in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational.
While the score might not show it, the Devils played tough, overcoming a 27-9 deficit to cut the Blue Jays' lead to just six point with 2:47 remaining. Here are some quick observations from the Arizona State's toughest challenge to date:
- Let's get this out of the way first: Jahii Carson is the man. After hovering around 20 points for the past three games, Carson sensed he needed to take over this game and did exactly that.. Contributing 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals on 9-of-17 shooting, Carson showed an unparalleled knack for getting to the basket whenever he felt necessary. Honestly, I don't think I can remember an ASU player who can get to the charity strike so naturally whenever the team needs it like Carson can. Carson's performance Saturday was the best I've ever seen from a Sun Devil freshman, including James Harden. It's a shame more fans weren't watching.
- Know what else is a shame? The fact that Jordan Bachynski wasted an opportunity to showcase why he could be one of the best the centers in the country. The 7'2 big man was an afterthought Saturday, playing only 21 minutes and spending most the second half on the bench after looking completely lost on defense for most of the night. Bachynski only managed to grab two rebounds in his time on the court, the least of any of the seven ASU players who registered at least one board. Overall, I thought Arizona State's offense looked a lot worse as a whole with Bachynski unable to do his thing down low. Everyone else begins forcing shots and this is not a team that excels when it relies on jumpers.
- And with the offense looking stagnant, last year's turnover epidemic reared its ugly head once again. The Devils looked sloppy with the ball when things weren't working, turning it over a whopping 18 times in a very tight game. If Arizona State was more careful with the ball, the upset could have went their way. They made enough plays on the defensive end even though Doug McDermott had his way with them on more than one occasion.
- Before I go, I'd be remiss if I didn't stop to give Carrick Felix a shout out. The senior followed up his career night Friday with another efficient performance, logging 17 points and five rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting. While I'd like to see Evan Gordon step up more, I wouldn't mind at all if Felix was this team's second scoring threat all season long.